BUSINESS start-ups and a children's charity have been given a boost after more than £37,000 was raised at a black-tie event.

The SJL Foundation's first ever black-tie ball saw business figures raise funds for exciting new business ventures and the Acorns Children's Hospice.

The night included a charity auction that had prizes including a round of golf with some of the Worcestershire Rapids cricketers, hire of a classic Morgan motor car, luxury holidays and signed sporting memorabilia, significantly increased the total raised on the night.

BBC radio presenter, Dave Bradley hosted the event, which had live music from The Institutions and magic from 'Magician Patrick'.

SJL Insurance is covering the complete running costs of the SJL Foundation, including salaries and the cost of laying on all events such as the Ball.

This means that 100 per cent of the money raised goes to the charity. 10 per cent goes directly to SJL’s staff’s own charitable endeavours, 45 per cent goes to Acorns children’s hospices based in the West Midlands and 45 per cent goes to start-up businesses across the UK.

Simon Lancaster, founder and trustee, SJL Foundation said: “Saturday's ball was one of the set piece annual fundraisers of our newly registered charity, the SJL foundation.

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"I would like to thank everybody who supported and attended the event to help us to support both Acorn’s children’s hospices and start-up businesses.

" I am grateful to the SJL staff, our sponsors, corporate partners and all who donated prizes and contributed in so many different ways. It is extremely humbling to see so many people pull together and we couldn’t do it without them.

“Finally, the room looked spectacular and an event of this nature takes months of planning, hard work and skill - so I would like to thank the organisers: Kate, Lucy and most importantly of all of course my amazing wife Sarah Lancaster. Sarah, who is one of the five trustees of the foundation, made it into a family affair by designing and planning the ball.”

The SJL Foundation was set up by Worcester born entrepreneur and philanthropist Simon Lancaster, who is the CEO and founder of insurance company, SJL Insurance.

Simon Lancaster started the SJL Foundation to pay it forward, as he received a £500 business grant in 2001 from Worcester Council to set up SJL Insurance.